New Pew Forum Study Explores Religious Make-Up of Immigrants

WASHINGTON, March 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

- Christian immigrants outnumber Muslim immigrants in the E.U., but the
numbers are much closer when migration within the E.U. is excluded

On the heels of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's announcement that immigration to France should be halved, the U.S.-based Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life released a new report on religion and international migration. It finds that the immigrant population of the European Union is mostly Christian, albeit with a substantial Muslim minority. There are an estimated 26 million Christian immigrants (56%) and nearly 13 million Muslim immigrants (27%) living in the 27 countries of the E.U. However, when internal migration within the European Union is excluded, and only people born outside of the 27 E.U. nations are counted as immigrants, the share of Christian immigrants (42%) and the share of Muslim immigrants (39%) are much closer.

There are about 6.7 million immigrants living in France. Its Christian immigrants (about 2.8 million) are predominantly from other European countries. France's Muslim immigrants (about 3 million) are primarily from the former French colonies of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.

Most Christian immigrants living in Germany (about 5.5 million) and Italy (about 2.5 million) are from other European countries, including those in Eastern Europe. Germany's foreign-born Muslim immigrants (estimated at more than 3 million) are primarily from Turkey. Spain's large population of Christian immigrants (nearly 4.6 million) consists principally of migrants from Latin America as well as Romania, the United Kingdom, Germany and France.

About one-in-ten immigrants in the 27 E.U. states have no particular religious affiliation, and the remainder belong to a variety of smaller religious groups, including Hindus, Buddhists and Jews. Hindu immigrants to the E.U. states are mostly from India, and the religiously unaffiliated have come mostly from Russia and China. Buddhist immigrants in the E.U. are from a variety of Asian countries, including Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Thailand. The largest number of Jewish immigrants to the E.U. have come from Israel.

These are some of the key findings in the Pew Forum's new report Faith on the Move: The Religious Affiliation of International Migrants [ ]. The report focuses on the total number (or cumulative "stocks") of migrants living around the world as of 2010 rather than the annual rate of migration (or current "flows"). An international migrant is defined as a person who has been living for a year or longer in a country other than the one in which he or she was born.

The study draws on a new database created by the Pew Forum that combines hundreds of censuses, surveys and other sources to detail the origins, destinations and religious affiliations of international migrants. The report and database are part of the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures project [ ], an effort funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts [ ] and the John Templeton Foundation [ ].

The full report which includes a companion quiz and interactive map, is available on the Pew Forum's website [ ].

Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life

CONTACT: Pew Forum Communications, +1-202-419-4562

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